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Have you heard of cryptocurrency? If you’ve been on the internet for nearly ten years, you probably know about cryptocurrency. For example, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and that was a huge deal. I first found out about Bitcoin through H3H3’s video on a company called Bitconnect, back in 2018. Bitconnect was a scam that stole $2.6 billion dollars. So, today, let’s talk about cryptocurrency.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has confirmed that fake cryptocurrency investment offers account for the majority of all online scams. The one million milestone was racked up in just two months with the influx of scams. More than half of the 10,000 online links to scams blocked or taken down by the NCSC are for cryptocurrency schemes, where investors are promised high returns in return for buying blockchain currency such as Bitcoin.

While cryptocurrency scams are the main scams detected, there have been cases of fake online shops and spoofs involving organisations such as TV Licensing, HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs), GOV.UK and the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). According to statistics, 10 percent of the scams were removed within an hour of an email being reported and 40 percent were down within a day of a report. About 10,200 malicious URLs linked to 3,485 web sites have been.

Phishing attacks are one of the most effective methods of attack for cyber-criminals and affect every institution and industry. There are increasing reports of cyber-criminals using phishing emails to collect data from organisations in order to create fake websites and profiles; the attackers may then use these websites to claim support under government aid schemes that have been set up to help during the COVID crisis.

Unfortunately, it’s not just businesses and organisations that are affected, with ordinary citizens arguably at the greatest risk of all. Masquerading as Corona-virus updates, information around the availability of masks and vaccine information and even posing as organisations looking for donations to charitable relief funds, phishing scams are hard to pinpoint but are becoming increasingly common.

Irregularities in emails, such as an unexpected emphasis on urgency, spelling and grammar mistakes and whether they expect an email from the sender are all signs that the email is a phishing attack.

Stay safe out there and keep a close eye on who you trust in your inbox.

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